A better metro map?
It’s not difficult to sit down with a city map and suggest new metro stations and lines, but making the best sense of them is another matter.
Marc Dufour has a page about the city’s prediction in 1967 of the grandiose metro system foreseen for 1982 (massive PDF file) and Matt McLauchlin of the Montreal by Metro site has a page showing the evolution of ideas for the metro from 1944 onward.
This Canoe blogger has come up with an ambitious one (although it ignores the option of stretching further into Laval or Longueuil) and McLauchlin proposes this complicated layout. Both these maps include a second north-south line that would visit Mile End, and both also provide better service to the northern edge of the island than we have now.
McLauchlin also has a simpler map showing extensions proposed by various transit entities. (We were told by the STM guide during the Un métro la nuit event that the only extension being taken seriously right now is the blue line to Anjou.)
About a year ago, Taylor Noakes posted three other extension maps (it’s not clear where he found them) with his commentary.
Almost all these fantasy maps show too many lines, as if someone had overdosed on New York, London, Paris or Tokyo subway maps and tried to reproduce their density here. But we only have a population of 3 million and some of the areas served by the maps are far too thinly populated to make sense of digging tunnels at great expense to reach them.
Dufour comments on Noakes’ page that maybe the metro should never have been built at all: this city had a vital tram network till the 1950s and if we’d updated that and kept it running, it would be the envy of other cities by now.
This is always going to be the problem: political and economic pressures distort the more common-sense solutions staring us in the face. Metro lines will go where voters are, not where simple need dictates. Suburban mayors will agitate for metro stations because it’s “their turn.” Fashions and trends will come into play and industries will pressure cities to make changes that will be profitable for them – after all, someone convinced the 1950s administration that trams were passé and all the cool cities were switching over to buses.
And I ask again: what are we doing now that people will look back on from 2060 and shake their heads and say “How could they have been such idiots?”